Sunday, August 28, 2016

Inhaling the Void

As our bodies create a bubble of warmth around ourselves in cold water so do our minds insulate our sanity against the cold realities of the cosmos. But when there is a current the icy truth of the greater river is revealed, and so our illusions of a verdant and hospitable universe are ripped from us. Even as the water flows we pump out our vital heat in attempt at homeostasis, and as the cosmic winds rip away at our psyche we try and cling to a coherent view of reality.

"...And even when a road hazards its way over the desert, you will see it make a thousand detours to take its pleasure at oases. Thus, led astray by the divagations of roads, as by other indulgent fictions, having in the course of travels skirted so many well watered lands, so many orchards, so many meadows, we have from the beginning of time embellished the picture of our prison. We have elected to believe that our planet was merciful and fruitful. But a cruel light has blazed, and our sight has been sharpened..."
From: Wind, Sand, and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

Essence of the Void and The Mágos Astéria

The Mágos Astéria are a small society of scholars and mystics, mostly composed of reclusive astronomers and  astrologers. They are all pen pals and collaborate readily with each other, but rarely let new comers into their secret society.

The greatest of them have begun to have their minds slipping, as they stare into the darkness less and less of this world matters, they call this Inhaling the Void. They forget to eat, they forget to sleep, and they forget to write to their colleagues. When their distant friends go looking for them they find these masters of the stars curled up in their observatories clutching their telescopes in withered hands and perfectly mummified with star light shining out of their eye sockets. They shake their heads and sigh, another one lost...and promptly cut off the head of the dead star gazer and drain the strange shining fluids from their skulls.

And that's how Essence of the Void is harvested.

Drinking a vial of  Essence of the Void will flush the mind of the drinker with the cold and bitter truths of the cosmos, and most cannot withstand this and will go insane. But spell casters of a certain class can use this to counteract the side effects of some of their more volatile spell casting. Arnold K writes a great piece about wizards and spell casting that describes wizards as making their mindscape habitable for spells by contorting them to the desired spell's preferred psyche.

Some spells require a feverishly hot and vigorous mindscape to be cast, such as Otto's Irresistible Dance, and this is rather hard to maintain. Hence the use of Essence of the Void, its a coolant, but a very dangerous tool. Take too much and your finely tuned  mind freezes solid and cracks, take too little too late your mind is dribbling out your ears.

Don't do drugs.


  1. So, Essence is used to keep a high-energy mind stable, so you can attract high-energy spells without melting.

    Could you use it in the reverse way? Cool your mind below normal, to attract slow, low-activity spells?

  2. Ah, a great comment and question! In short, no.

    This was mostly fluff without the game statistics added, but if I had to put game stats to the substance it would be this: Roll an additional 2 casting dice on your next spell. If you roll 2 1s with the additional die your mind freezes and must be magically thawed. If you roll 2 6s with the additional die your mind turns to mush and you die. On a roll of a 1-3 the dice return to your casting dice pool as normal until consumed.

    So you can become a much more powerful caster with the chance to burn your brain out. The effects can potentially just go away on their own.